In my last post I wrote about what will come after PHP. In a way PHP is the only language you can use if you want your software to be used on a variety of platforms. Software written in PHP is easily hosted and configured on shared hosting, a dedicated server or on your own PC.
PHP as a language is pretty bad. No more articles have to be written on that subject. However, PHP as a hosting platform is everywhere. Much succesful open-source web software is written in PHP. Mediawiki, Wordpress and PHPMyAdmin are just a few of the big ones, that I use almost every day. This is software you can just host yourself.
If you want to install and configure these software packages you have to follow a list of four steps. Unzip the software, FTP it to the server, create a database and browse to a config page. It's not easy, but at least it's not impossible.
Some software is impossible to install on shared hosting, like compiled software or software that uses a different interpreter, like ruby, perl or python. These programs have to be installed on your own server to be used. Shared hosters don't like this kind of software it seems. Developers and the other hand do like it.
EC2 for Poets takes a step in the right direction. This document describes how to setup your own server on an EC2 instance. It lays out all the steps that you need to take to get to the end goal of running your own server.
I like this, because it shows how we will be running our own software in the future. What I don't like is that there are so many steps.
I imagine a consumer-friendly service, where I can push a button and install WordPress, Mediawiki, or a webshop that's written in Perl.
And if I want I can have my friends use the service. No multiple step instructions. You just pay a small amount to the people that wrote the software and a small fee to the company that hosts the software.